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Page 2, 11/20/97


Thursday, November 20, 1997

David Lauren



AUGUSTA - Attorney General Andrew Ketterer announced today that his office has determined
that a Brunswick police officer was legally justified when he shot and killed Richard A. Weymouth on
November 6 in Brunswick.
Ketterer said an investigation by the Department of the Attorney General found that Weymouth,
55, of Brunswick, was shot by Officer Shawn T. OLeary, 31, after Weymouth, who was in a wheelchair
and armed with a butcher knife, responded to police commands to drop the weapon by lunging at OLeary
with the knife in an apparent attempt to stab OLeary.
Ketterer said the investigation, primarily conducted by detectives in his office, showed that
Officer OLeary and Sgt. Mark A. Phillips, 45, also of the Brunswick Police Department, responded to a
911 call placed shortly before 4 p.m. on November 6 by another occupant of an apartment in which
Weymouth was visiting at 29 High Street. The occupant, identified as Cherie Andrews, called 911 to
report that Weymouth had struck her and that she had responded by beating him and knocking him out
of his wheelchair. She said help was needed to get him back into the chair.
Two EMTs in an ambulance arrived at the apartment a few minutes before the police officers.
When the officers arrived, the EMTs had already placed Weymouth back into his wheelchair, and were
attempting to keep Weymouth and Andrews separated. The investigation disclosed that Andrews and the
apartment tenant, Raymond Bernier, were extremely intoxicated. A fourth individual in the apartment at
the time of the initial arrival of the EMTs, Clifford White, left the apartment and went outside as the

police officers attempted to calm the situation and separate the intoxicated combatants. White was not
intoxicated. One of the two EMTs remained inside the apartment while the other went outside.
Ketterer said the investigation disclosed that Weymouth refused to tell the officers that he had
been assaulted, notwithstanding obvious marks and swelling on his face. Weymouth simply responded
that nothing had happened and that he wanted to go home. Weymouth was informed by Officer OLeary
that there was an outstanding no-bail warrant for his failure to appear in court on an OUI charge and that
the police would be taking him into custody. It was during this exchange, the investigation showed, that
the EMT remaining in the apartment observed Weymouth pick up a plastic grocery bag and place it in his
Shortly after Officer OLeary informed Weymouth of the warrant for his arrest, Weymouth pulled
a butcher knife from the grocery bag and, saying nothing, stabbed himself in the abdomen. Weymouth
was but a few feet from the officers. As both officers drew their service weapons, Officer OLeary
repeatedly commanded Weymouth to drop the knife. Weymouth stabbed himself again in the
abdomen. The officers could observe that the knife actually penetrated Weymouths abdomen, yet the
actions did not appear to have any demonstrative effect on Weymouth. The EMT in the next room with
Andrews and Bernier observed Weymouth stab himself as did Clifford White from outside the apartment.
Both individuals also heard Officer OLeary shouting several commands for Weymouth to drop the knife.
Having witnessed the stabbing from outside the apartment, White later told investigators that he was
sickened and turned away. As a result, White said, he did not personally observe anything beyond
Weymouth initially stabbing himself. The investigation showed that the knife had an eight-inch blade and
was nearly an inch-and-a-half wide at its widest point.
Weymouth, facing Sgt. Phillips and Officer OLeary, ignored the warnings to drop the knife and,
applying power with his left hand to the side of his wheelchair, moved toward the officers with the knife
held in his right hand and extended outward toward them. Neither officer at that point could retreat any
further. The apartment, the investigation showed, consisted essentially of two rooms and a bathroom and
was very small and cramped. One room, the one in which the police officers and Weymouth were
conversing, served as a kitchen. The other, the one being occupied by the EMT and Andrews and
Bernier, was a combination living room and bedroom. Most of each room was observable from the other.
Sgt. Phillips, separated from Officer OLeary by a refrigerator, was directly facing Weymouth
and was essentially backed into a corner of the kitchen in the cramped apartment. Officer OLeary stood
slightly to Weymouths right near the doorway to the next room where Andrews, Bernier, and the EMT
were directly behind him. Officer OLeary continued to shout commands for Weymouth to drop the
knife. Sgt. Phillips reholstered his service weapon and attempted to stop Weymouths advance with

pepper spray. Two separate discharges of the disabling chemical agent directly into Weymouths face,
however, had no apparent effect upon Weymouth.
Officer OLeary continued to command Weymouth to drop the knife although it became apparent
that Weymouth was not going to heed the warnings. Weymouth adjusted his wheelchair slightly to
directly face OLeary and, using his left hand and arm, raised himself in the chair. As Weymouth lunged
toward OLeary with the knife extended outward, OLeary moved his upper body away from the advance
of the knife and discharged three rounds from his service weapon at Weymouth. Weymouth, struck twice
in the chest area and once in the abdomen, continued forward and fell onto the floor. Weymouth was
pronounced dead a short time later at the Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick.
Ketterer said that the investigation revealed that both officers, at the time of the shooting, had
ample cause to fear imminent serious bodily injury or death from Weymouth. The investigation showed
that Weymouth was three to five feet from the officers when OLeary shot him. Ketterer also noted that
physical evidence at the scene and a reconstruction of the shooting by investigators from his office,
personnel from the State Police Crime Laboratory and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner verified
the officers account that Weymouth had positioned himself within striking distance and that he was
coming up out of the wheelchair toward Officer OLeary with the apparent attempt to stab OLeary at the
time he was shot.
An autopsy performed on Weymouths body by Dr. Margaret Greenwald, the states Deputy
Chief Medical Examiner, disclosed the cause of death to be multiple gunshot and stab wounds. One of
the stab wounds penetrated the liver and would have likely caused Weymouths death, Dr. Greenwald
reported. Dr. Greenwald also reported that her investigation of the shooting incident corroborated that
Weymouth was thrusting his body upward and forward in his wheelchair when he was shot by Officer
OLeary. The autopsy results also showed that Weymouths blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was

The investigation also revealed that a series of events throughout the day on November 6 and at
least two days prior led up to the confrontation and shooting in Berniers apartment. The investigation
showed that Weymouth was given a ride by a neighbor on November 4 to the Togus Veterans
Administration. The neighbor had given him similar rides in the past. At the hospital on November 4,
Weymouth saw a physician for the purpose of renewing medications. The neighbor noted that Weymouth
was unusually quiet during the trip from Brunswick to Togus and acted as if something was bothering
him. On the way back to Brunswick, according to the neighbor, Weymouth showed her a large knife
which he removed from a plastic grocery bag, and told her that he was going to a friends house to
sharpen the knife and then get myself shot. The neighbor said that Weymouth made the statement

several times on the trip back to Brunswick from Togus. Raymond Bernier later confirmed to
investigators that Weymouth would regularly use Berniers knife sharpener in Berniers apartment.
The investigation further disclosed that Weymouth, Andrews and Bernier had been drinking for
several hours leading up to the shooting in Berniers apartment. Weymouth called Andrews earlier in the
morning and asked her to purchase some whiskey and bring it to Berniers apartment at 29 High Street.
When Andrews had not immediately fulfilled the errand, she received a second call from Weymouth a
couple of hours later. Andrews went to the apartment in the early afternoon in the company of White
where they met Weymouth and Bernier. White left the apartment a short time later. Throughout the
afternoon, Weymouth, Andrews and Bernier drank liquor. Weymouth and Bernier argued over
Weymouths continually increasing the volume on a radio. Bernier would turn the volume down and
Weymouth would turn it back up. At some point in this course of events, Weymouth punched Bernier in
the ribs. At another point, an argument erupted between Weymouth and Andrews concerning an incident
months prior in which Weymouth stood accused of shooting at a house where he believed a man dating
Andrews lived. According to Andrews, Weymouth physically assaulted her during the argument and kept
running over her foot with his wheelchair. Andrews said she punched Weymouth and then knocked him
out of his wheelchair. At about the same time, the investigation showed, White reappeared at the
apartment and he and Bernier managed to get Weymouth back into his wheelchair.
The investigation disclosed that the arguing, alternately between Weymouth and Bernier and
Weymouth and Andrews, continued. Andrews again knocked Weymouth out of his wheelchair at which
time no one would help him back into the chair. It was at this point, the investigation disclosed, that
Andrews made the 911 call for assistance.
Andrews later told investigators that she attempted to disarm Weymouth of his knife, but was
pushed back into the living room by Officer OLeary. She also told investigators that she grabbed
OLeary around the waist and upper body to try to stop him from shooting Weymouth. The investigation
disclosed, however, that it was the EMT whom Andrews grabbed around the waist and upper body, not
Officer OLeary. Indeed, Andrews grip was significant enough to have caused bruising to the EMT.
The investigation also revealed that it was the EMT who reached out at Weymouth and grabbed
Weymouths arm as Weymouth initially stabbed himself. Weymouth pulled his arm away, and the EMT
was told by Officer OLeary to get back. The EMT complied and forcibly accompanied Andrews and
Bernier to the living room where they were then behind OLeary. The EMT at one point was compelled
to physically restrain Andrews on the bed in the living room while also assuring that Bernier stayed in the
room by holding on to his arm.
Andrews also told investigators that Weymouth was acting strangely the day of the shooting. She
said he appeared depressed and told her several times that he would not willingly return to jail. Andrews

told investigators that Weymouth became extremely upset with her when he learned that she had called
911 because it would likely result in the police coming to the apartment. She said that Weymouth told her
that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
Ketterer said his office, which is charged by law with investigating uses of deadly force by the
police, was contacted immediately after the shooting in Brunswick by the Brunswick police and that the
department and involved officers cooperated fully with the investigation. Ketterer also noted the
cooperation of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and State Police detectives who assisted his
detectives with the investigation. Ketterer said seven investigators from his office, including the Chief of
Investigations, were assigned to the investigation.